What It Takes to Be Successful

Matthew Buckley

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I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the traits of successful people. Here’s what I’ve found, and what I would like for you to keep in mind on your own personal quest to be successful.

  1. The first is that you need to gain the reputation of being an expert in your field, and create the perception that you’re an indispensable asset to your organisation. Your employer needs to feel as if the organisation cannot afford to lose someone of your talent, value, and potential.
  2. You need to be willing to learn new things. Experts don’t just focus on what they already know, they also look to learn what they recognise they don’t know yet. Knowledge isn’t going to just come to you, you need to seek it out. You need to be curious and to ask questions. Aim to know as much about your industry/occupation as you can. Also, learn from those around you and have mentors because everyone around you is your superior in some area of expertise (and vice versa; there’s plenty you know that others around you don’t). Use this to your advantage. Learn from their experiences, and from their mistakes.
  3. Have a unique and valuable skill that is in demand.
  4. You need to be able to be innovative. Use your tools and your skillset before others do in order to get ahead of the curve.
  5. Set goals, and review them regularly. Track your progress, and frequently figure out what the next set of action steps are in order for you to continue your progress.
  6. You need to avoid procrastination. Just like the most successful people on the planet, you have 24 hours in a day to get stuff done. Use this to your advantage, and try to make every moment count.
  7. Be able to help others solve their problems by providing them with solutions. Don’t focus on selling a good or a service, focus on selling a solution.
  8. Get feedback, from your employer, from co-workers, from peers, and from customers. You can’t continuously improve if you don’t know where your weaknesses are. Get feedback, and gain strength in these areas.
  9. Seek out new opportunities and network. You need to be knowledgeable in your field, but you also need to network with people who need someone like you in order to fit a need that they have. When you do find a new opportunity, make the most of it in order to open up even more opportunities. Most success stories start with a single opportunity, which led to a domino effect of more opportunities.
  10. Turn your goals into positive affirmations. Remind yourself that you’re perfectly capable of achieving your goals as long as you take ownership of the fact that it’s up to you to be successful.
  11. Have the maturity and the confidence to figure answers out on your own.
  12. Break things down into smaller steps. Break your distal, long-term goals down into proximal short-term goals. For example, if you want to save $10,000 this year, don’t necessarily focus on the long-term goal of saving $10,000. Rather, focus on saving $192.31 per week. This lets you focus on your progress by shifting your focus to the small goals and the small wins along the long-term journey.
  13. Ask yourself ‘what will keep me from being successful?’ Then, avoid these bad habits, and pile on the good habits instead.
  14. Find something you love, and that you’re good at, and the success will follow you. Practise and gain experience. Aim to get your 10,000 hours in.
  15. Finally, be resilient. Regardless of who you are and how successful you’ve already been, life will inevitably throw you curveballs and tough times. But you need to be able to overcome adversity if you want to become successful and maintain that successful level. You need to be able to pick yourself up and rebuild yourself when you’ve been knocked down or hit a roadblock, and you have to have faith in your own ability, even when you’re having doubts.

These are 15 ways to help ensure success over the course of your career and your life. Keep these in mind, and the success should follow.

Matthew Buckley is an Organisational Psychologist.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2010, and received his master’s degree in Organisational Psychology with a concentration in Conflict Management from the University of New Haven in 2015. His main areas of interest include career counselling, conflict management, emotional intelligence, employee retention, leadership and management, morale and motivation, personnel selection and recruitment, and self-promotion.


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